Martin Carr reviews the third episode of The Mist…
The Mist might just turn out to be a solid gold gem come season end. Tucked away on Spike, focusing on character beats rather than showy special effects and drawing us in week on week, this epitomises economy both through storytelling and restraint. Seeds sown in episode one are reaching fruition as depth, breadth and reality are being grafted on to these stereotypes.
Have no illusions that the characters being played out here are anything less than generic, but raise themselves above expectations with a slow burn method and reveal. Both Copeland and the police officer with personal history remain at loggerheads as tensions are racked up another notch and splinter factions emerge. Across town in the mall his wife Eve faces a similar situation but revelations concerning military involvement, confrontations of a personal nature and extraneous factors hamper progress.
A town history also begins to immerge through quiet character moments that remind us we are inside Stephen King territory. Pitch black faery tales more Grimm Brothers than Disney are whispered between those waiting in church. Bonds are made in basements between people who find themselves with no one to trust and fewer options beyond that. Both locations seem to represent life boats amongst a sea of mist, where religion and consumerism sit at polar opposites. Within one are discussions of faith, an afterlife and what it means to believe when faced with the unexplained. While their monument to wealth and popular culture is very much about individuals plotting against each other. Unity, community and common good have no place amongst these people and for that reason there will be trouble ahead.
On a smaller scale the themes being addressed when King wrote The Mist remain just as prevalent. Power struggles within authority, needs of the whole outweighing those of the individual and class division as a means of social segregation all have relevance. What Morgan Spector, Alyssa Sutherland and Bill Carr are doing here amongst other things is fully committing to these themes. It is well known that The Mist is one of King’s lesser known early novels, but this makes it no less important than IT or The Dark Tower. Both are due for cinema release this year wielding broad canvases and burdened by huge expectation. The Mist by comparison is small, concise, beyond detection and better for it. Similar to Cat’s Eye back in the Eighties, The Mist has a real chance of building slow, gaining an audience and playing out successfully.
So it is that after three episodes The Mist has started well, delivered without going overboard and continues to intrigue. Packed to bursting point with good characterisation, solid performances and just enough ‘Show and Tell’ to keep us keen.